Angat water level seen to fall below minimum operating level in mid-May

By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz

Angat Dam's water level threatens to fall below the 180-meter minimum operating level by mid-May when the warm and dry weather conditions prevail over the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Wednesday.

Based on the PAGASA's latest rainfall projection over the Angat watershed in Bulacan and the current water allocation for domestic and irrigation uses, hydrologist Richard Orendain said Angat Dam's water level could drop to 193.25 meters by end of March, and further down to 182.71 meters by end of April.

A part of Angat Dam is seen at Norzagaray, Bulacan.   (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN) A part of Angat Dam is seen at Norzagaray, Bulacan (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

"Kung wala talagang pag-ulan sa Angat Dam, by mid-May, posibleng umabot sa 180 meters o mas mababa. Ibig sabihin mas mababa na sa operating level. (Should there be no rains over the Angat Dam, its water level by mid-May could possibly reach 180 meters or even lower, which means that the water level is already below its desired operating level)," Orendain said during the PAGASA's monthly climate outlook forum.

Once Angat Dam reaches the 180-meter level, authorities will likely suspend the allocation of water for the irrigation requirements of some farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga. "Although by that time, we are expecting that the farmers have already harvested their crops," Orendain said.

PAGASA continues to remind the public to do their share in the conservation of water to help reduce the demand for more water from Angat Dam.

Warm and dry days

The weather bureau has yet to declare the end of the northeast monsoon or "amihan" season but the weather has become warmer in the past few days, a prelude to warm and dry summer in the Philippines.

Last year, PAGASA terminated the "amihan" season on March 22.

PAGASA said generally below normal rainfall conditions in most parts of Luzon, Negros Island, and Zamboanga del Norte may prevail next month.

The Bicol Region and the rest of Visayas and Mindanao will likely experience near normal rainfall conditions.

By April, rainfall will likely be way below to below normal in most parts of Luzon, below normal in most areas of Visayas, and near normal in Mindanao.

By May and June, PAGASA pointed out that severe thunderstorms, a manifestation of the climate transition to southwest monsoon or "habagat" season, will likely prevail across most of the country.

It added that by May, rainfall will be near average in Northern and Central Luzon, and most areas of Mindanao, while it will be above normal in Southern Luzon and Visayas.

By June, rainfall will be generally near normal in most parts of the country except for some parts of extreme Northern Luzon.

For March, April, and July, temperature forecasts will be generally near to slightly below average temperature in most areas of Luzon and Visayas, while near to slightly above average in Mindanao.

In May, June, and August, near to above average temperatures are expected in most parts of the country.